Agave murpheyi, or Murphy's Agave, is a small Agave native to Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. The plant's leaves are in basal rosettes, linear to 26 inches (66 cm) long by 3.25 inches (8.25 cm) wide. They are light bluish-green to yellow-green in color and are occasionally cross banded. The leaves are tipped with a dark brown terminal spine that will reach 0.75 inches (~2 cm) long, with marginal spines along the edges of leaves about 0.25 inches (0.6 cm) long. The spines are very sharp and care should be taken when handling this plant. Plants will reach approximately 3 feet (1 m) tall and equally wide. In containers, they will be much smaller. Plants are very cold hardy and will survive temperatures as low as 10°F (-12°C). Plants are hardy in USDA zones 8-10.
Blooming: Although our plant has never bloomed, the inflorescence on this Agave will likely reach about 14 feet (4.25 m) tall when it blooms. The flowers are a pale waxy green with purplish to brownish tips. Flowers are followed by bulbils and rarely produce seed. Plants are monocarpic.
Culture: Agave murpheyi need full sun to light shade with a well-drained soil mix. In the greenhouse we use a soil mix consisting of 1 part peat moss to 2 parts loam to 2 parts sand. We add small gravel to the mix to insure good drainage. The plants are well watered and allowed to dry thoroughly before watering again. We fertilize the plants only once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer. During the winter months the plants are kept in the cool room and only watered enough to keep the leaves from shriveling.
Propagation: Agave murpheyi is propagated by division of offsets or by the removal of bulbils after flowering.
Agave murpheyi was featured as Plant of the Week December 7-13, 2007.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.